Mickey Colley commentary

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guest column by Mickey Colley

Pope resident starts petition for vicious dog ordinance

In the past year my dog has been attacked by what I would call vicious dogs. They have attacked and killed at least three other dogs in the neighborhood. These dogs were not out wandering around. These dogs were in their owners’ yards.

The vicious dogs are normally kept on a log chain or some other type of chain but either the dogs break lose or the owners let the dogs off the chain to get some exercise.

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These dogs have run a lady that was out walking her dog back into her home, scared for her life as well has the life of her little dog. These same vicious dogs have attacked but not killed four dogs that I know of that were in their own yards. These dogs have chased my daughter while she was riding her bike on two occasions.  If it were not for the fact that my daughter had gotten close to our house and our dogs had come out to protect our child she and her friends could have been the ones that were attacked, not my dog.

I have called the Panola County Sheriff’s office on both occasions. The first time they came out to the house, spoke with me and my daughter’s friend’s parents about what happened, and they took pictures of my dog that had his stomach ripped open and several cuts to the throat. We were told that they had already received several complaints on the dogs and they would inform the owners of the dogs that they were responsible for any and all damages their dogs caused. They also told my neighbor that if they were called out again on these same dogs that they would take care of the problem.

About two weeks ago one of these same dogs went to another neighbor’s house and killed his beagle on his back step to his house at three in the morning. There was no one around to antagonize the dogs or to be throwing rocks at the dogs or anything of that nature. The owner of the beagle got to the door in time to see what was happening but was unable to save his dog’s life or take the life of the attacking dogs. The sheriff was called out but informed the owner of the dead dog that there was nothing they could do about it because neither Panola County nor the State of Mississippi has a lease law, nor do they have a vicious dog law.

Yesterday my daughter and some of the neighborhood children were out riding their bike when I heard her screaming. I looked out the window to find one of these dogs slinging my dog around my his neck. I went outside to see the owners of the dog on a four wheeler trying to get his dog to release my dog. The children told me that they rode their bikes to the end of the road and then were headed back when this dog started chasing them. My dog jumped in the middle, from all accounts protecting the children.

I called the sheriff’s office and was told that they would send out an officer but there was nothing that they could do because there is no law on the books about dogs.

I said, “So you are telling me that there is nothing you can do about these dogs until someone is killed or attacked?”

The officer’s response floored me.  He said, “I know that what I am about to say is only going to make you more angry but even if the dog had attacked or killed the child there is still nothing that we could do.” He informed me that all they can do is come out and if the dog is off the chain and out of the yard then they can shoot it. Don’t get me wrong; I love animals and I don’t want to see any animal get hurt, but I love my child and human life more.

I have started a petition to get the Board of Supervisors to draft and adopt a vicious dog ordinance for Panola County and I plan to take it to my State Senator to try and get a law passed that protect people from animals.

You might ask if I or anyone else has spoken to the owners of these dogs. The answer is, yes, we have. After I calmed down some yesterday I went to their house and spoke with the young man’s mother and father about the situation. They said that the children were antagonizing the dog and that is the reason for the attack.

I said I don’t know anything about that, but I can tell you that there were no children antagonizing the beagle at three in the morning. I was told that these dogs are good friendly dogs and they would not hurt anyone. Well, I have seen what these dogs do to other dogs and I am not about to take the chance with my child’s life or limbs. The owners of the vicious dogs are responsible for any and all damages done in civil court, but I am sorry. I don’t believe that you can put a dollar figure on human life. I know that I can not put one on my child’s life.  She is priceless.

If you would like to add your name to the petition please send me an email at  tc_mickey@yahoo.com

/s/ Mickey Colley